Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Hours : 16:07:20
Format : Historical Fiction, Horror Audio Book
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge and RIP Challenge

Welcome to the time just after the second world war in rural Warwickshire. Doctor Faraday is a middle aged doctor serving the community who comes from a working class background trying to raise his status. He is called out one day to Hundreds Hall where his mother used to be a servant to the Ayres family when he was a young boy. He treats their yong servant girl Betty who is faking her illness to get out of doing work. She thinks there is something wrong with the house and has got herself all worked up. He stays and spends some time with the family, Mrs Ayres, Caroline and Roddy. Caroline is a spinster and Roddy was injured in the war leaving him with a bad leg and lots of scarring. Since the war they have really been struggling to maintain the Hall and their estate and Roddy is bearing the brunt of it.

Doctor Faraday soon integrates himself into the family. He begins an experimental new treatment on Roddy's leg and his connection with Caroline slowly starts to grow. The tension running through the novel starts to slowly build at the same time, beginning with an accident with Caroline's dog Jip. He suddenly attacks someone in the house during a party and things begin to go downhill for the Ayres from there. Is there a malevolent being in the house? A poltergeist or the personification of someones unconscious (a little stranger)? Doctor Faraday explains everything away using practical explainations, but as things get more spooky and serious, the reader is drawn into the mysetery never quite reaching the truth. A mixture of the supernatural and the class struggles of the time.

This is the first audio book I have listened to and it was a perfect introduction. Read by Simon Vance I had no idea what it was going to be about and just plunged straight in. I really felt the tension growing in the background, it was woven into the narrative so subtly though. The language is very sensuous and it was so easy to picture the house and it's inhabbitants in front of me as I listened to it. The audio veriosn also included an interview with Sarah Waters at the end which gave an interesting insight into her tastes, motivations and personality. Overall it's a classic haunted house story told exceedingly well.

18 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! I haven't read it yet, but it seems hard to go wrong with Sarah Waters.

Carl V. said...

I've heard much praise for Sarah Waters and this one sounds great. I love a good audio book, especially ones that involve stories that fit into the R.I.P. mold. I'll have to see if my library has this available on audio.

Amanda said...

Every time I see a new review for a Sarah Waters book, I kick myself for not having read anything by her yet. We now have two of her books on our shelf, and still I haven't read anything. Sigh.

Literary Feline said...

I have heard good things about Sarah Waters and also this book. I am glad you enjoyed it. :-)

I haven't tried listening to an audio book yet. I keep waiting for that iPod so I can listen to books while out walking the dog.

Darla D said...

Ooh, this one sounds nicely creepy. I love Simon Vance as a narrator - he is wonderful. Glad you liked it!

stageandcanvas said...

I've been looking forward to reading this one and will get to it at some point. (So much to read!)

Amanda, read Waters.

Iliana said...

I haven't had good luck with audio books but am glad to hear you liked this one a lot. I'll have to remember that and maybe try it out. Great review!

Kailana said...

I really need to read Sarah Waters! I have only read one book by her and I think that was well over a year ago now. I have two books by her on my TBR, so must read her soon!

Melody said...

I've heard a lot of good things about Sarah Waters' books! I've this in my pile and now I can't wait to dive into it!

reviewsbylola said...

Wonderful review. This is one of those books that I've been coveting recently. I love Sarah Waters.

raidergirl3 said...

Were you frustrated at the end and the ending? I remember being a tad confused and I had to email someone I knew had read it already in order to ask some questions and see what she thought.
Great love story - between the doctor and the house.

3M said...

I listened to this on audio and thought it was well done as well.

Ladytink_534 said...

I haven't listened to a horror story on audiobook before. Bet that was an interesting experience! This sounds like a good story though I hope there is an explanation at the end (I wasn't too fond of the way The Haunting of Hill House ended).

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I read this book and from then on I was hooked with Sarah Waters. I have picked up all of hers since.
She is truly an amazing author.

The Little Stranger is a perfect choice for this challenge.

Great blog, by the way!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I don't know if my comment went through or not but I just wanted to say, love the blog. I am now a follower.

And I read The Little Stranger and have since purchased all of Sarah Waters books. She is amazing!

This is a great choice for this challenge.

Andi said...

I've never read ANY Waters novels! I'm so behind.

samantha.1020 said...

I've heard so many good things about this author's books. Must, must read something by her and soon.

Kris said...

So glad you enjoyed the audio version of this one! I just started the audio version myself, I'm on disk 2.